ABOUT AMBOSELI ECOSYSTEM TRUST

Amboseli Ecosytem Trust is a registered charitable Trust incorporated under the provisions of the Trustees (Perpetual Succession Act) chapter 164 of the Laws of Kenya - Reg. No. 156/01/198/MMIX. After developing the general management plan, stakeholders created a Trust that will oversee its implementation. The Trust herein “Amboseli Ecosystem Trust” was established.  It is mandated to mobilize resources for the implementation of the 10 years management plan. The supporters and funders of the Trust are key players in the ecosystem.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As one of the region’s critical conservation landscapes, the Amboseli ecosystem encompasses roughly 5,700 km2 that stretches across the Kenya-Tanzania border. With Kenya’s Amboseli National Park as its epicenter – one of the country’s most popular tourism parks – the system is dependent on the wider pastoral rangelands, and the long history of co-habitation between wildlife and Maasai necessitates a holistic conservation approach that integrates biodiversity and human livelihoods.

The Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) was formed with the mission to secure the sustainable management of the Amboseli landscape. As a trust formed by and composed of community institutions, government representatives, and partner NGOs, AET is uniquely positioned to serve as a coordinating body to facilitate and mobilize the sustainable and participatory management of the Amboseli Ecosystem.

While these stakeholders’ posses varying interests in the area, they all want to see a reduction in land fragmentation, degradation, and habitat loss across the Amboseli Ecosystem.

 

BACKGROUND & CONTEXT

The Amboseli ecosystem covers an area of approximately 5,700 km2 stretching between Mt. Kilimanjaro, Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West National Park, and the Kenya-Tanzania border. Administratively, the ecosystem consists of Amboseli National Park and six surrounding group ranches: Kimana/Tikondo, Olgulului/Olararashi, Selengei, Mbirikani, Kuku, and Rombo. These Group Ranches are a mechanism for the roughly 85,000 mainly pastoralist families in the area to jointly own and manage their land. The arid/semi-arid ecosystem is rich in biodiversity, earning it international recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Amboseli has a complex history characterized by the interaction between formalized conservation and Maasai pastoralist livelihoods. What was once a communally-managed landscape that supported the co-existence of Maasai pastoralists and wildlife, became an early colonial-era game reserve, then a district reserve meant to generate more local revenue, and finally a national park excluding Maasai from use and limiting benefit sharing.
Today, Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most visited parks thanks to its proximity to Mount Kilimanjaro; its wildlife diversity, including an elephant population of roughly 1400; and the rich cultural heritage of the Maasai living just beyond the park boundaries. While the Maasai live just outside of the park’s borders, it is their land– comprising the vast majority of the the greater Amboseli ecosystem – that is critical for conservation and development purposes. In Kenya, 70% of wildlife is found outside of national parks and reserves, depending on community and private land for water, food, and for migratory habitat. At the same time, most tourism revenue in Kenya is generated inside national parks, providing few incentives for the people living with wildlife outside of the parks to protect it or the land it needs to survive . The challenge for long-term conservation in the Amboseli system, as elsewhere in most of Kenya’s key wildlife areas, is to maintain wildlife movements and other key ecosystem functions at the landscape scale.